CIUDAD JUAREZ (Reuters) - Fifteen people were killed and at least one seriously wounded in a suspected drug-related shootout on Friday in a bar in northern Mexico, a region that has been brutalized by fighting between criminal gangs.
Armed men entered the bar in Chihuahua, capital of Chihuaha state, and opened fire on a group of people inside suspected of involvement in drug dealing, the local attorney general's office said in a statement on Saturday.
The office said two other people died in a separate bar attack in the city, bringing the death toll for Friday night to 17.
Since 2008, Chihuahua, and in particular the city of Ciudad Juarez on the border with Texas, has been the area worst hit by turf wars between drug cartels following the crackdown on gangs President Felipe Calderon launched soon after taking office in December 2006.
The gang violence and clashes with security forces have killed more than 50,000 people in Mexico in the past five years.
However, the number of murders had eased somewhat in Chihuahua over the past year, with some counts suggesting the border state of Nuevo Leon had suffered more violence in the first months of 2012.
(Reporting by Julian Cardona; Editing by Eric Walsh)